Through MWIA we have the opportunity to participate in putting together a proposal for the ‘Saving Lives at Birth – A Grand Challenge for Development’ Project. In brief, USAID, Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and The World Bank have joined together to call for groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, rural communities around the time of childbirth. Of the estimated 3.2 million stillbirths, 3.6 million neonatal deaths and 360,000 maternal deaths that occur globally each year, a major gap for intervention exists around childbirth and in the early postnatal period – a time when mothers and babies are most vulnerable and global progress in reducing mortality has been particularly poor. Innovative prevention and treatment approaches are needed across three main domains: (1) Science & technology; (2) Service delivery; and (3) Demand-side innovation that empowers pregnant women and their families to practice healthy behaviors. These investments in high-risk, potentially high-return projects are aimed to identify and support transformational approaches to women’s and newborns’ health that can be scaled up to dramatically – and sustainably – reduce deaths and poor birth outcomes for millions of women and newborns in the hardest to reach communities of the world. More information regarding this exciting project is available at http://savinglivesatbirth.net and if you are interested in contributing to the MWIA proposal please email me.
On a more somber note, the MWIA Western Pacific Conference in Tokyo has been cancelled as a consequence of the devastating Earthquake then Tsunami which befell Japan. AFMW and a number of the States have sent condolences to the Japanese Medical Women’s Society.
In other news AFMW has received a request to become supporters of the ‘Child Health Now community initiative’ via World Vision. We are continuing to grow the Leadership Database and we continue encourage members to register their interest. I also attended the Victorian Honour Roll of Women event, held on Wed 16th March 2011. In case you are unaware, “The Victorian Honour Roll of Women is so important as it acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of inspirational women in Victoria and ensures that the legacy of these women is recorded and passed on to future generations”.
I am proud to be able to be involved with the launch of the AFMW ‘Thank You Initiative’ where you nominate a Mentor to ‘officially’ thank and we send a certificate to them on your behalf. I think it is very important to acknowledge those people who went out of their way to help us – even and perhaps especially, when they may not have appreciated what an impact they have had on our lives. There is more on this initiative later in this newsletter.
An email-out to all the rural students societies with a free AFMW newsletter subscription offer has seen new student members join AFMW directly from states where medical women’s societies are not active. My vision is that AFMW will continue to facilitate the inactive States in joining enough interested members to activate their own State organisations. Until then direct AFMW members have many opportunities to articulate with AFMW and also to utilise their ‘buddy State’ organisations for the many benefits that the active medical women’s societies offer.
AFMW is continuing to grow its presence in the wider community with promotional flyers being accepted into numerous conference satchels. We are also pursuing Tax Deductible Status as well as an official Sex Discrimination exemption. If anyone is interested in understanding either of these processes then please email me.
Lastly, we are also putting in an application for AFMW to independently be an organisation affiliated with the UN DPINGO. This will allow us to send 6 adult and 2 youth members to any of their meeting. The next DPINGO Conference The Department of Public Information, NGO Section) will hold its annual congress in Bonn, Germany 3-5 September 2011.